Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

In what could be a precursor to a permanent tweak on all-inclusive vacation concepts at select resort properties, and to adapt to growing customer demands and needs, AMResorts plans to launch Defined Delights, a limited all-inclusive optional offering.

The concept enables guests to customize their vacation experience with inclusions that vary based on room category. Defined Delights’ package inclusions for guests staying in Delight room categories include daily breakfast, meals at three a la carte restaurants without reservations required, 24-hour access to late-night bites at CoCo Cafe, restocked mini bar with water, soft drinks and local beer, WiFi, amenities and use of water sports and resort facilities.

Guests will have the option to upgrade their experience as desired once at the resort, and those who choose to upgrade to Preferred room categories get all of the above as well as access to Bordeaux, a fourth a la carte restaurant, premium brand liquors, waiter service at pool and beach and complimentary room service.

The concept is planned to start May 1 at the just-opened Dream Delight Playa Bonita Panama. (Through April 30 the resort will continue to offer its signature all-inclusive Unlimited-Luxury concept.) It will then roll out at Dreams Puerto Rico Resort & Spa in Guanica, which is slated to open on Puerto Rico's south coast in late 2018, according to Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group and the parent company of AMResorts, Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions and CheapCaribbean.com.

"We will see how it works and will expand in other resorts where it is feasible," Zozaya said.

"Our research has shown that a lot of customers do not want the full all-inclusive program," he said. "The Defined Delights concept caters to couples and those with children, specifically in destinations where guests spend a lot of their vacation time enjoying off-site experiences, attractions and restaurants."

"There is an appeal to this, and it will work well for us in resorts that have a high payroll environment, such as Panama and Puerto Rico," he said. "Defined Delights will offer a limited luxury experience. Guests will pay less at our resort but will continue to enjoy many but not all of the same inclusions as the fully all-inclusive guests."

Zozaya pointed to Defined Delights as one example of the company's attention to consumer needs. "We want to be innovative and relevant to our customers' feedback and to emerging trends," he said.

Based on current trends and data, AMResorts now includes vegan menus at many of its resorts. It opened co-ed areas in its spas so that couples can have treatments at the same time, and it now offers spa programs for those under 16 years of age. New Core Zones were created for teenagers in its family-friendly resorts.

"We saw that the business centers at our resorts were underused, so we have converted them to lounges, much like airport lounges, where guests can relax, check email and print out boarding passes," Zozaya said.

Apple Leisure Group is projecting revenues of $3.4 billion in 2016, an increase of between $380 million and $400 million over 2015.

AMResorts' inventory will total 52 properties by the end of the year, with another 13 resorts slated to open in the next two years. Zozaya said it has signed 26 contracts in the past 20 months and plans to have 100 properties within the next few years either open or in the construction stages.

The newest property, the 502-suite, family-friendly Now Onyx Punta Cana, opened last week.

With six brands in its portfolio (Zoetry, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now and Sunscape), there is opportunity for a seventh brand in a very specific niche, according to Zozaya. "We are working on it."

New markets under consideration in the Caribbean include Turks and Caicos, Barbados, St. Lucia and Cuba.

"Cuba is in our plans," he said. "We have to wait until the laws change and restrictions regarding the embargo are lifted, but we will be there."

This report was updated Nov. 8 to include more information about the Detailed Delights concept.

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